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Ministerial design champions set goals for public buildings

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All new government projects should be of sufficient quality to be eligible for the Prime Minister's Award for Better Public Building. That was the resolution to come from the first meeting of all 16 ministerial design champions last week.

The DTLR's Lord Falconer, who chaired the meeting, has selected new government offices in Leeds - architect not yet appointed - as his first personal project. The champions must personally mentor two schemes through the procurement process.

CABE chief executive Jon Rouse attended the meeting and told the AJ he was encouraged by the enthusiasm of the ministers. He was particularly impressed with Dr Moonie from the Ministry of Defence and Denis MacShane from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. However, he added that the Lord Chancellor's office was 'the most progressive' department.

The ministers received a presentation on some exemplar schemes, including the Jubilee Campus at Nottingham University designed by Michael Hopkins and Partners and Levitt Bernstein's CASPAR housing scheme in Leeds.

Lord Falconer told the gathering: 'We are making steady progress in our pursuit of betterdesigned, publicly funded buildings, but standards are still patchy.'

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